Listeria monocytogenes in Veggies Caused a Chain Reaction Across US and Canada

A variety of minimally processed vegetables produced by Mann Packing of Salinas, California were recalled because of a possibility of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.  The refrigerated and frozen vegetables were sold throughout the US and Canada. The recall of the vegetables from Mann Packaging impacted ten supermarket chains and several producers that used Mann Packaging products in their products. This huge recall is solely based on a single positive sample found during random sampling by Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The Origin

The FDA announced that on October 19 that the Salinas, California-based Mann Packaging company, one of the largest suppliers of fresh vegetables in North America, issued a voluntary recall of freshly-cut vegetables. These products were stored in grocery freezers and were distributed to other supermarket chains and producers across the USA and Canada.

The recalled products included: Broccoli Cole Slaw, Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, Brussels Sprouts, California Stir Fry, Vegetable Medley,  Kale Beet Blend, Fiesta Vegetable Tray, Veggie Hummus Tray, Nourish Bowl Cauli Rice Curry, Nourish Bowl Monterey Risotto, Nourish Bowls Butternut Kale Risotto, Nourish Bowls Sesame Sriracha,, Culinary Cuts Cauliettes Chopped Cauliflower, Kale Caesar Kit, , and many more.

Mann Packaging management decided to recall the product after “a single positive result” for Listeria monocytogenes that was found in a product during random sampling by Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“As an owner of this company and a mom, providing safe and healthy foods to our consumers and their families is always our top priority,” said Gina Nucci, Director of Corporate Marketing . “This voluntary recall is a reflection of our commitment to ensuring the safety of our consumers.”

Associated Recalls

As a result of the Mann Packaging recall, multiple recalls resulted in across the country because these products contained vegetables sourced from Mann Packaging.  The recall impacted numerous famous brands such as Mann’s brands, Archer Farms, Cross Valley, Signature and store brands from Wal-Mart, Target (Archer Farms) and Trader Joe’s.  It also affected some supermarket chains such as Meijer, Albertson, Safeway, Whole Foods Market, Vons, Randall’s Food Markets, Tom Thumb, Park N’ Save, H-E-B, and more.   Meijer, for example, recalled approximately 20 store brand products from over 300 stores in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky. Stores of Albertson’s, Randalls, and Tom Thumb, removed products sold under the Ready. Chef. Go! Label, in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The seafood meals were in cooking bags and included vegetables from Mann Packing.

The recall also influenced restaurants, school cafeteria suppliers and institutions suppliers such as Triple B Corporation of Pacific Coast.  Paragon Wholesale Foods from Warrendale, PA distributed broccoli florets to multiple schools in the Greater Pittsburgh and Butler, PA areas.

According to the FDA, the recalls were issued as a result of the Listeria found in Mann Packaging products:

It is important to mention that there have been no illnesses associated with all these recalls.

It seems as if every day more companies are announcing recalls due to potential Listeria contamination as an impact of the recall by Mann Packaging, as the ripple effect continues through the USA and Canada.

Questions Asked

Important questions come to mind when reviewing this web of recalls:

Should such an impactful recall be done based on a single positive sample? Where there other signs of Listeria contamination in the plant? What happened to subsequent samples taken from the same product?

In the era of the immediacy of information through the Internet, why did it take so long for the recalls to trickle down to all the companies that purchased products from Mann packaging? Faster information transfer would have saved a lot of food and save a significant amount of money.

How can more effective announcement system be put into place?

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